Canton Repository

July 13, 2005

Canton-native Lavin resigning Singapore post


By Paul M. Krawzak

Copley News Service

WASHINGTON — Canton-native Franklin L. Lavin is stepping down from his post as ambassador to Singapore, but he will remain on the job until a new ambassador is confirmed by the Senate, he said through a spokesman Tuesday.

Lavin, 47, declined to discuss his reasons for leaving or his future plans, saying it was premature to do so. Officials in the State Department and White House said there was no indication he was leaving unwillingly.

President Bush on Tuesday nominated Patricia L. Herbold of Washington state to succeed Lavin as the nation’s representative to the island nation. A former Ohio resident, Herbold practiced law at Taft, Stettinius & Hollister, a Cincinnati law firm founded by Sen. Robert A. Taft.

Lavin was in Washington on Tuesday as Bush and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong signed a security agreement that they said would allow Singapore to increase its participation in the war on terror.

“His plans are not all solid yet because he’s going to be going back to Singapore to continue in the job,” a State Department spokesman for Lavin said.

Ambassador since 2001, Lavin has served longer than the average ambassador, a State Department spokesman said. During his tenure, the United States and Singapore negotiated a free-trade agreement that Lavin had identified as one of his major goals.

Another major concern was the safety of 20,000 Americans who live in Singapore, which has been targeted by Islamic terrorist groups in recent years.

A prolific fundraiser for Bush, Lavin previously worked as a banker and venture capitalist in the Far East. Earlier, he served in various positions in the administrations of George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan.